Sunday September 9, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Eight months after the idea was suggested, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority’s board is officially set to expand from seven to 11 members.

The state Legislature approved the city’s petition to expand the board late last month, and the City Council will consider Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi’s appointments for those positions Tuesday night. Under PEDA’s bylaws, the mayor is the appointing authority for all board members.

Bianchi, who is also a PEDA board member, has asked the council to consider appointing Patrick J. Reuss, Pamela R. Green, Michael P. Filpi, and Paul W. Dalton to the four new spots.

Council will also be asked to re-appoint current board member Michael K. Matthews, the CEO of Tower Acquisitions in Lee, who came on board last September to serve the remainder of former Mayor James M. Ruberto’s two-year term.

Filpi is the business manager for Local 473 of the Laborer’s Union of Berkshire County, who was recently appointed to the city’s Charter Review Committee, and has previously served on the School Com mittee and the Parks Com mission. Green is an attorney with the law firm Parese, Smith and Gold LLP, which has offices in Pittsfield and Williamstown.

Reuss is a recruiting and staffing leader at Sabic Innovative Plastics, while Dalton is a supervisor of repair operations at General Dynamics, according to biographies of both men that are posted online.

Bianchi said Filpi would fulfill his desire to have a member connected to organized labor on the board, Green can add additional legal representation, and Dalton gives the panel another employee from General Dynamics (Beth Mitchell, a manager at General Dynamics, recently resigned from the board due to work scheduling conflicts).

Before working for Sabic, Bianchi said Reuss was employed at GlobalFoundries, a microchip plant in Malta, N.Y., a facility that PEDA is interested in becoming involved in.

"I thought his institutional knowledge of that business and industry would be helpful," Bianchi said of Reuss.

If the four new appointments are approved Tuesday night, Filpi, Green, Reuss and Dalton can join the board in time for Wednesday morning’s monthly PEDA meeting. PEDA, which began with only five members, expanded to seven in 1999, and will now be as large as the 11-member City Council

"I’m excited," said PEDA’s Executive Director Cory Thurston. "I’m hoping that they’re going to add a lot. It’s great to have legal and labor representatives, and two people from some of our largest employers on board.

"The more people that can help us the better," he said.

According to Thurston, Filpi and Green are being considered for two-year terms, while Reuss and Dalton will be considered for one-year slots as "at large" board members. Matthews’ term is also for two years.

When he joined the board in January after being elected mayor, Bianchi said he was interested in expanding PEDA’s Board from seven to nine members, but amended his proposal to 11 members in February. The Council approved the board’s expansion plan on Feb. 28, and forwarded it to the Legislature for approval.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:

TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com

(413) 496-6224

On Twitter: @tonydobrow